Bhutan Cultural Experience

The tour comprises of various religious and cultural sightseeing to ancient monasteries, Dzongs (fortresses) and sites which are as old as from 7th century. The sightseeing also includes short hikes such as Gangtey trails in Phobjikha and famous Taktsang (tigers nest) hike in Paro. The vast picturesque valley of Phobjikha also is famous for rare black-necked cranes which fly over from Tibet in winter, thus making it the must visit place for any visitors to Bhutan.

Tour Type: Cultural Tour

Tour Duration: 7 Nights 8 Days

Day 1: Arrive Paro

Fly into Paro valley.

The fight into Bhutan over the Himalayas is one of the most spectacular experiences. Particularly the flights from Delhi (India) and Katmandu (Nepal) fly past the majestic Mt.Everest, Kanchenjunga and the entire Himalayan range, visible on the left side of the plane as it glides towards Bhutan. On landing at Paro you will be received by our representative. After customs and Immigration formalities, you will be escorted to Thimphu, the capital city.

Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 2: Thimphu Sightseeing

Breakfast

Visit the National Memorial Chorten (Stupa), built in memory of the 3rd King of Bhutan. Visit the Art School and Changangkha Lhakhang (a temple built in 12th century by a Tibetan saint).

Lunch

Visit the National Takin Reserve Center to see Takin, the national animal of Bhutan and Trashichhodzong (fortress of glorious religion). Trashichhodzong in its current form was completed in 1968 and it houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan. It is also a center of monastic body and houses main secretariat building. The majestic Dzong located along the Wangchu (Thimphu River) has a Tendrel Thang which is the venue for Thimphu Dromchoe and Thimphu Tsechu, the annual Thimphu Festival where thousands of people fill the courtyard to witness the mask dances, traditional dances, and many more.

Visit Semtokha Dzong, five miles from main Thimphu town, the Dzong is considered to be the first ever built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1629, therefore the oldest fortress in Bhutan. Located on a ridge overlooking the entire valley, the Dzong houses a chapel for protective deities Yeshe Goenpo (Mahakala) and Palden Lhamo of Bhutan.

Day 3: Thimphu – Phobjikha/Gangtey valley 4.5 hrs drive.

Stop at Dochula pass 3100m on route to Punakha from Thimphu. Dochula pass is one of the famous landmarks in Bhutan from which one can sight the Himalayan Range of Bhutan on clear winter days. The place is adorned with Druk Wangyel Chorten, 108 stupas built to honor the 4th king of Bhutan and bring peace to the region. The stupas were built under the patronage of Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck.

Day 4: Phobjikha.  Hike around villages and monasteries.

Known for its vast valley landscape and winter home for Black-Necked Crane, Phobjikha valley at an altitude of 3000m is one of the most famous tourist destinations in western Bhutan. The vast U shaped valley offers lots of scenic hiking routes and nature trails for the visitors. Overlooking the valley is the Gantey Goemba the oldest Nyingmapa Monastery which dates back to 17th century. The monastery also is the venue for the annual Black-Necked Crane Festival.

Day 5: Phobjikha to Punakha (2 hrs drive).

Drive from Phobjikha to Punakha is about 2hrs.

Punakha valley served as the capital of Bhutan till 1955 until it was shifted to Thimphu. The Punakha Dzong is still the winter seat of Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) of the monastic body as the place has a temperate climate with Phochu and Mochu Rivers flowing through the fertile fields of the valley.

Visit Punakha Dzong.

Punakha Dzong or Pungthang Dewa Chenpai Phodrang, the palace of bliss was built in 1937 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. The second oldest Dzong of Bhutan is religiously and architecturally significant to Bhutanese as it houses several sacred relics, scriptures, statues and is the place where the first king of Bhutan was crowned in 1907. Punakha Dzong is also famous for Punakha Drupchen where the 17th-century battle scene with Tibetan invaders are recreated and is followed by Punakha Tsechu where grand Thongdrel of Guru Rinpoche is unfurled with costumed mask dances and rituals.

Day 6: Punakha to Paro.

Drive to Paro via Dochula pass.

Visit Chimmi Lhakhang, the temple of Lama Drukpa Kuenley (The Devine Mad Man). Chimmi Lhakhang was built in 1499 by Lam Ngawang Chogyel on the spot where Lama Drukpa Kuenley subdued a demon who was fleeing away in form of a dog and buried the demon naming the spot as khe mae (no dog now). Hence the temple was named Temple of no dog (Chimmi Lhakhang)

Lunch at Dochula Pass or Thimphu Town.

Day 7: Paro

Early breakfast.

Hike up to Paro Taktsang, the famous Tiger’s Nest. Perched on the cliff side at height of 900m above the Paro valley, the 3hr hike is the most trodden route in Bhutan as every visitor land up visiting the landmark. It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava flew on this site on a Tigresses back and meditated there for months eventually bringing Buddhism to Bhutan.

After lunch visit Kyichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in Paro. Originally built in 7th century by Tibetan Emperor, it’s one of the 108 temples he built in the region. The temple is believed to have spiritual treasures concealed by Guru Padmasambhava and the two orange trees in the courtyard defy the natural way of orange trees usually growing in lower altitude and it’s believed to bear fruit throughout the year.

Day 8: Departure.

Peak Seasons

Months of March, April, May, September, October, and November.

daily tariff:USD 250 Per person per night

surcharges:

Solo Traveller: USD 40 per night

Dual Traveller: USD 30 per person per night

Three travellers and above: surcharges not applicable

Visa fees: One time payment of USD 40 per person.


Lean Season

Months of January, February, June, July, August, and December.

daily tariff:USD 200 Per person per night

surcharges:

Solo Traveller: USD 40 per night

Dual Traveller: USD 30 per person per night

Three travellers and above: surcharges not applicable

Visa fees: One time payment of USD 40 per person.

A minimum of 3 star accommodation (4 & 5 star may require an additional premium).

All meals

A licensed Bhutanese tour guide for the extent of your stay

All internal transport (excluding internal flights)

Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours